Posts Tagged ‘goats cheese’

An Italian feast – the vegetarian version

I must apologise in advance as I forgot to take photos of the antipasti before we dug in and devoured it all… Oops!

After my last post about food, which was posted to Facebook, a friend I haven’t seen in a while read it and jokingly asked to come to dinner in a “You-can-invite-me-to-dinner-anytime,” kind of way. Spotting an opportunity to prepare another feast, I responded with a genuine invitation. Another friend was invited and the date was fixed. I had a day off so scheduled my day around preparing the food.

We decided to go vegetarian as one of the party doesn’t eat meat and I couldn’t be bothered to do two sets of food.

And so the fun began.

I started by making the tiramisu slightly wrong by whisking the sugar with the egg whites instead of the yolks. I just kind of put it all together and fridged it and hoped it would taste fine. Then I made little things called Esse biscuits, which are quite specific to Venice, although why a biscuit shaped like an S should be Venetian is beyond me.

Then I ploughed on through the grissini, the music paper, the pesto, the gnocchi, the soup, the lentil dish and some salads. It was 3.30pm, two and a half hours before my guests would arrive. So I did what any reasonable person would do at that point. I had a nap.

I woke up about 5pm and dived back into the kitchen, spearing mozzarella and basil, toasting (burning) bread and taking the truffle butter out of the fridge.

After a little help with directions, my friends arrived, one of them taking charge of toasting new bread as I couldn’t seem to stop burning things.

So the antipasti was grissini, music paper, truffle butter, pesto, bruscette with ricotta, broad bean and mint, more bruscette with roasted grape and thyme, roasted walnuts, and goat’s cheese. O, and a white bean houmous-type thing, which was unexpectedly delicious. I just used some tinned cannellini beans and heated them gently in a pan with a bit of water, an onion, some bay leaves and a bit of olive oil. Then I removed a few beans, whizzed what was left and left it on a low heat to thicken. I put it in a bowl once finished and put the beans I had removed back on top with a little lemon and white truffle oil.

As mentioned earlier, I only afterward remembered to get a photograph of the antipasti. Here it is.

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Yep. That’s all that was left to photograph by the time I remembered…..

Next up was the mains.

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A panzanella, which was well received. In case you are unfamiliar with a panzanella, it’s a bread and tomato salad, basically. It’s one of those things that I’ve had a few times and it’s been pretty average. A nice homemade panzanella, though, is well worth the effort.

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Here we have; bottom left, a chickpea, fennel and leek soup; above that, the white bean houmous; front right, gnocchi in a cavolo nero sauce; top middle, a zucchini, basil and rocket salad.

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There was also this vegetable lentil dish dressed with basil oil and mozzarella.

Once we’d eaten all that, we were stuffed and couldn’t even think about dessert. No, honestly! I can’t fit a single thing in! I’m so full. I need a while to let it all go down. What’s that? You’re getting the dessert out? Just to look at? Ok. O… Well, maybe I’ll just have a little try….

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Baked figs on the left and tiramisu in the glasses on the right. We obviously scoffed them. I admitted my sugar-in-the-egg-whites mistake but it was generally agreed that we couldn’t tell. 

Next we had coffee and the Esse biscuits.

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A discussion about the film version of Roald Dahl’s The Witches then took up the remainder of the evening and I went to bed dreaming of being turned into a mouse….

Yaya’s Meltdown

The other day I was hanging out with Yaya at his house. We were watching Mr. Bean. It was loads of fun. We had just been out for dinner where I had eaten scallops, braised pork belly and a goats cheese crostini with walnuts and an onion marmalade dressing. It was amazing. Yaya had turned his nose up at his dinner, declared ‘it doesn’t look nice’ then fallen off his chair, taking his apple juice with him. Later he had eaten a bit of chocolate brownie and ice cream and had a long conversation with me about the milkman who delivers his milk.

I should mention now, in case any new readers are unaware, Yaya is a four year old boy.

While watching the TV, he decided he wanted to sit on his dad’s knee. So he pottered over and plonked down. Dad got up for a minute so put Yaya in the space while he got up. He came back a few minutes later and sat back in his space and invited Yaya back onto his lap.

This is when Yaya’s Meltdown happened.

Yaya wanted Dad to go and sit on the other sofa. Dad, confused, said he wanted to sit with everyone else on the same sofa and didn’t Yaya want to sit with him? Yaya was angry. Yaya wanted the space Dad was in. Dad tried to reason, he had been sitting in the space just a few minutes ago, he wanted to stay in the same spot.

So Yaya formulated a plan (which was ultimately flawed). He would push Dad out of the space. He stands up on the sofa, gets his hand behind Dad’s back and pushes. He pushes, pulls, squeezes, tugs. We were all stifling giggles at his loud effort noises. We did not realise how serious this was about to get. So his plans started to it’s flaws pretty quickly – when you pit the strength of a four year old boy against his father, the four year old boy is always the weaker.

He makes valiant attempts to squish himself in between Dad and sofa, to reclaim the space.

I attempt a solution.

“Yaya,” I say, “there’s a space in between Daddy and me here, it’s just the right size for you. Why don’t you sit here?”

It is as though I have not spoken. The struggle continues. Dad is getting annoyed. Eventually Dad threatens Yaya with bedtime. Yaya freaks. He cries. He screams. He’s going, “I don’t want to go to bed!”

He’s told he has two options. Sit nicely with everyone on the sofa together. Or go to bed. He sobs loudly, “I don’t want to do ANYTHING!” and sits in the doorway in the other room whimpering and calling, “Mum! Mum, come downstairs, I need you. Mum!” Mum is busy with child number two and doesn’t hear.

Eventually, after ten long minutes of the whimpering, Dad goes to Yaya and asks him if he wants to come in and sit nicely. Yaya whimpers. The Meltdown has sapped all his energy. He lets Dad pick him up and bring him in and sit on the sofa with him. In the exact position they had been in before Dad left his spot and The Meltdown happened.

So here we are, all on the sofa, Yaya whimpering and no-one quite able to understand what just happened.

Maybe it’s because I’m a non-parent but whole thing seems totally illogical. I can’t stand things/people which are illogical. That’s why I’m not too keen on animals, I think. Animals and children. They both don’t make any sense.

If any parents can explain to me this situation, I would appreciate it. Here are the events as I see them:

Yaya sits with Dad on the sofa.
Dad gets up.
Yaya occupies the space.
Dad returns and sits in the spot again, offering his lap for Yaya to return to.
Yaya wants Dad to sit on the other sofa.
Yaya freaks and ends up in another room crying for Mum.
Dad gets Yaya, brings him back to sofa and sits with him on his lap.
Yaya is fine again.

WHAT. ON. EARTH!

This is why I do not have any children.

I’d be going, “Don’t be so illogical. It offends me.” And they’d be going, “I want that! Now! Waaah! I hate you! Give me lots of things now!”

P.S. Very exciting news. Following the Food Fair last week, at which we discovered truffle butter, the manager is considering stocking it. I am delirious with excitement!